RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-104 :: Friday, 2 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#104 Friday, 2 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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NEWSWATCH: “French Cyber Security Leader: No Trace of Russian Hacking Group in Emmanuel Macron Campaign Leaks” – AP

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“[Guillaume Poupard] … head of the French government’s cyber security agency [ANSSI], which investigated leaks from … #Macron’s election campaign, says they found no trace of a notorious #Russian #hacking group …. the Macron campaign hack ‘was so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone.’ … they found no trace that the Russian hacking group known as #APT28, blamed for other […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Igor Shuvalov: Future of Russia Lies in Consolidation and Progress” – Valdai/ Igor Shuvalov

Igor Shuvalov file photo

“The wealth of Russia is based not only on securing the needs of the domestic market, but primarily on the openness, Igor Shuvalov told journalists at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. …”

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NEWSLINK: “What does Russia think about all this? ‘Washington has gone crazy.’ The Kremlin sees vulnerability in a new world order.” – Washington Post/ David Ignatius

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“When Russian officials and analysts here talk about the U.S. investigation of their alleged hacking of the 2016 campaign, two themes predominate: They’re flattered that their country is seen as such a powerful threat, and they’re amazed that the United States is so preoccupied with the scandal. … * * * You might expect that Russians would feel embarrassed by […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukraine in Conflict” – E-International Relations/ David Marples

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Firstly, Ukraine has moved away from the Russian orbit. … Secondly, the quasi-messianic phase of the conflict, the quest for the so-called Russkiy Mir (Russian World), initiated in Moscow has failed. … Thirdly, Ukraine’s response to Euromaidan has been ambivalent and at times questionable. * * * In turn, some Ukrainians refuse to accept any Western critiques of their country. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with RDIF International Advisory Board members and investment community representatives

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – June 1, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with members of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) International Advisory Board and representatives of the international investment community. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon friends, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you for coming to Russia and meeting together in St Petersburg again. I must say that many […]

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NEWSLINK: “How the Trump administration’s secret efforts to ease Russia sanctions fell short” – Yahoo News/ Michael Isikoff

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“In the early weeks of the Trump administration, former Obama administration officials and State Department staffers fought an intense, behind-the-scenes battle to head off efforts by incoming officials to normalize relations with Russia, according to multiple sources familiar with the events. …”

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VIDEO & ARTICLE: “Russian Banker Sees Trump Facing Witch Hunt in New Cold War” – Bloomberg

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Erik Schatzker, Jake Rudnitsky – June 1, 2017) [Video interview also at: bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-01/russian-banker-says-u-s-involved-in-witch-hunt-against-trump] U.S. politicians have turned an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential elections into a witch hunt to settle domestic political scores, according to the head of Russia’s second-largest bank. “This is effectively a new Cold War,” VTB Group Chief Executive Officer […]

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Ukraine’s justice ministry sues Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili file photo

KYIV. May 31 (Interfax) – Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko intends to file a defamation lawsuit against Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the Rukh Novykh Syl political force. “I have made a decision to file a lawsuit based on all those statements that this citizen made regarding the protection of honor and dignity,” Petrenko told a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday. […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-103 :: Thursday, 1 June 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#103 Thursday, 1 June 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beyond the Recession, More Problems Await Russia” – Strafor

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“As the Russian economy slowly pulls out of recession, low oil prices will keep it stagnant for years to come. Nonetheless, the recovery, and the return of foreign investment, will alleviate some of the Kremlin’s concerns about the economic sanctions against it.  The Russian government, meanwhile, will grow increasingly worried about the people’s economic hardships as gubernatorial and presidential elections approach. […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. Companies To Talk Business With Putin In St. Petersburg” – Forbes/ Nabi Abdullaev

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“After several years of low attendance, during which the Obama administration actively discouraged US businesses from participating in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia’s largest international business gala, this year sees the return of American companies in sufficient numbers to run a separate U.S.-Russia roundtable for the first time in the forum’s history. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Terrorism and the Perils of ‘Russiagate.’ As Trump and Putin strive for an essential US-Russia alliance against international terrorism, American media frenzy, fueled by anonymous leaks, continues to thwart it.” – The Nation/ Stephen Cohen

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Cohen begins by reiterating his argument that international terrorism—a modern-day phenomenon that controls territory, has aspects of statehood, commands sizable fighting forces, has agents in many countries outside the Middle East, and is in search of radioactive materials that would make their bombings incalculably more lethal—is the No. 1 threat to the world today, including the United States, Europe, and […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “U.S. shale, trade and sanctions worry Russian Finance minister as economy gets back on track” – CNBC/ Geoff Cutmore, Alexandra Gibbs

Anton Siluanov file photo

[Scroll down for embedded video] “… Following last week’s decision by oil producers to extend output cuts by nine months to March 2018, Siluanov told CNBC that OPEC’s decisions would give opportunity [sic] for prices to stay at present levels, but that both producers and the ministry had to be on alert for any market changes. …” ‘On the one […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-102 :: Wednesday, 31 May 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire about a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#102 Wednesday, 31 May 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s interview with Le Figaro

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

(Kremlin.ru – May 31, 2017) The interview was recorded on May 29 in Paris during the President’s visit to France. Question (retranslated): A very good afternoon. Thank you very much for agreeing to answer questions from Le Figaro. I would also like to thank you for meeting with us here, in a classroom at the Russian Cultural Centre. Once again, […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘Do you know what memes are?’ Billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s lawsuit against opposition leader Alexey Navalny goes to trial” – Meduza

Alisher Usmanov file photo

“On Tuesday, May 30, a Moscow court convened to consider the merits of a defamation lawsuit brought by billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov against opposition politician Alexey Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). Usmanov is demanding that Navalny retract multiple accusations he made in a recent investigation into corruption allegedly involving Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as well as allegations Navalny has […]

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Interfax: Lavrov warns U.S. against attempts to use extremists in Afghanistan as temporary allies

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Washington that the use of extremists in Afghanistan as temporary allies may have dangerous consequences. “If this is another attempt to use extremists as temporary allies to achieve some goals and then hope to take these extremists under their control, then this is an absolutely shortsighted tactic, it has […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Navigating the Complexities of Doing Business in Russia” – Harvard Business Review/ Mark McNamee

… Most firms we work with feel a sense of powerlessness to handle the changing conditions in Russia. But  … there are ways that they can manage the uncertainty. … First, companies should pinpoint exactly what elements of their operations are most vulnerable to abrupt changes in foreign policy relations. … [and] think through the types of political and macroeconomic […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-101 :: Tuesday, 30 May 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire bout a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#101 Tuesday, 30 May 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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Interfax: New period of contacts with Trump Administration yet to trigger positive change in Russia-U.S. relations – Ryabkov

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

PSKOV. May 30 (Interfax) – Moscow is concerned with the fact that the new period of contacts with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has still not triggered any positive change in bilateral relations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “The new period of contacts and interaction with the Trump Administration has not yielded any noticeable change for […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Joint news conference with [Putin and] President of France Emmanuel Macron

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

(Kremlin.ru – May 29, 2017) Following bilateral talks, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron held a joint news conference. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would also like to thank President Macron for inviting me to come to this wonderful corner of France, to Versailles, which I have never visited before. It is definitely an impressive […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Snapshot Analysis: Trump, NATO, Russia” – Russia Matters/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“As predicted … #Trump’s summit with other #NATO leaders … showed a White House focused on meeting its treaty commitments … also determined to see its partners take on primary responsibility for countering threats that affect them, particularly in their own neighborhood. For #Russia, Trump’s public comments sounded like a mixed bag: … the president called Moscow a ‘threat’ and expressed no interest […]

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NEWSLINK: “New book announcement from Brookings: The New Autocracy. Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia. Edited by Daniel Treisman. Corruption, fake news, and the ‘informational autocracy’ sustaining Putin in power.” – Brookings Institution

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

“After fading into the background for many years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia suddenly has emerged as a new threat — at least in the minds of many Westerners. … Under … Putin … Russia is neither a somewhat reduced version of the Soviet Union nor a classic police state. Corruption is prevalent at all levels of government and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Fighting in Ukraine’s Language War. If Kyiv draws new battle lines in the country’s language war, Moscow is ready to restart its side of this conflict.” – Carnegie Europe/ Thomas de Waal

Rada File Photo

“… Ukraine’s language wars are restarting. A bill requiring 75 percent of national television broadcasts to be in Ukrainian has just been passed by the Rada. It follows a very unpopular move by … Poroshenko to ban Russian-language social media websites …. Next up … is draft legislation that seeks to ensure ‘the functioning and use of Ukrainian as a state language in all spheres of […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-100 :: Monday, 29 May 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire bout a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#100 Monday, 29 May 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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A New Threat to the Kremlin: Russians’ Incomes Not Keeping Pace with Their Expectations

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 25, 2017) In every federal district except the Far East, Russians say they need more money for “a normal life” than their current incomes, a situation that reflects stagnating wages and salaries and rising prices and one, the editors of Nezavisimaya Gazeta say, that represents an increasingly serious political threat to […]

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Russia’s Muslims Are as Diverse as Their Experiences

Russian Mosque file photo

(The Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Liliya Karimova – May 25, 2017) Professorial Lecturer at Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication, the George Washington University Russia’s current Muslim population is estimated at about 15 million, accounting for about 10 percent of the country’s total population. These numbers do not include about 4-5 million migrant workers, predominantly from Central Asia. A […]

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The “All 17 Agencies Agreed” Myth

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Subject: The “All 17 Agencies Agreed” Myth Date: Fri, 26 May 2017 From: Jeffrey Carr <greylogic.carr@gmail.com> Founder, Suits and Spooks (suitsandspooks.com) Author, “Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld” (O’Reilly Media, 2009, 2011) The “All 17 Intelligence Agencies Concluded That Russia Is Responsible” Myth that originated with Hilary Clinton is wrong, has always been wrong, and was confirmed as wrong […]

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NEWSLINK: “Best To Assume Russia Sanctions Last Forever” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… the G-20 meeting this June … will be the first time [Trump and Putin] meet, and that could give us the official, presidential word on sanctions. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov

Boris Titov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2017) Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov presented his annual report to the President. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Titov. Have you brought your annual report? Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov: Yes, Mr President. Time flies. We are completing the first five-year period in our work. Five years ago, you made a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Macron meets Russia’s Putin near Paris, promising tough talks” – Reuters/ Michel Rose, Denis Dyomkin

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“#French President Emmanuel #Macron met #Russia’s Vladimir #Putin near Paris on Monday, promising some frank talking with the Kremlin leader after an election campaign in which his team accused Russian media of trying to interfere. … * * * While Moscow backs [#Syria’s] … al-Assad, France supports rebel groups trying to overthrow him. France has also taken a tough line on […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Ministry statement in connection with anniversaries in Russia-NATO relations”

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

“These days we will mark 20 years of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which Russia and NATO signed in Paris on May 27, 1997, and 15 years of the declaration titled Russia-NATO Relations: A New Quality, which was adopted at the Russia-NATO summit meeting in Rome on May 28, 2002. We have to point out that […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Social Media Seen as Threat to Ukraine and to Cybersecurity. Kiev has shut down Russian Facebook-like platforms VKontakte and Odnoklassniki” – Wall Street Journal

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“Ukraine has taken a drastic step in a continuing cyberwar with Russia, its powerful, nuclear-armed neighbor: shutting down Russia’s homegrown versions of Facebook. The Ukrainian government earlier this month blocked Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, Russian-language social media platforms that are hugely popular across the former Soviet Union, saying they were serving as vehicles for pro-Russian propaganda. …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Trump-Russia Story Starts Making Sense. The Kremlin seems to have bet big on the willingness of U.S. intelligence agencies to leak.” – Wall Street Journal/ Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

“The Trump-Russia business is finally coming into clearer, more rational focus. Former Obama CIA chief John Brennan, in testimony this week, offered no evidence of Trump campaign cooperation with Russian intelligence. Instead he spoke of CIA fears that Russia would try to recruit/blackmail/trick Trump colleagues into being witting or unwitting agents of influence.”

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NEWSLINK: “Fighting the Politicized, Evidence-Free ‘Collusion with Russia’ Narrative . The ‘Russian collusion’ scandal is manufactured – but like all good subterfuge, it is premised on a kernel of truth.” – National Review/ Andrew McCarthy

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

“… Democrats are not fighting for advantage. They are fighting to annihilate their opposition — not just the Trump administration but the Republican Congress. It is not enough to say they are not fighting fair. Everyone knows that. Look at John Brennan: as a national-security official throughout the Obama years, his principal job was to appease Islamist regimes and organizations. […]

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Andrei Liakhov: “Re: 2017-#98-Johnson’s Russia List/ My answer to the ‘prominent Washington expert'”

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Subject: Re: 2017-#98-Johnson’s Russia List Date: Wed, 24 May 2017 20:01:47 +0300 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> My answer to the “prominent Washington expert”: Dear expert, you have not read the report correctly. [“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”] The January report never stated unequivocally that Russia’s interference is an established fact. At most, to me, as to […]

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Response by prominent Washington expert on Russia to JRL 2017-#95, 18 May 2017 [Re: U.S. #Intelligence, #Russia, #Hacking, U.S. Election]:

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Response by prominent Washington expert on Russia to JRL 2017-#95, 18 May 2017: “I was surprised to read Prof. Robinson’s analysis on your Russia List. His analysis misses one rather central point, without mention of which everything else that he says instantly loses credibility. It is not leaks — what would the in-party do without leaks to blame? —  that […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-99 :: Thursday, 25 May 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire bout a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#99 Thursday, 25 May 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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U.S., Russian Generals Communicating More To Avoid Mishaps In Syria

Syria Map

©2017 RFE/RL, Inc. – rferl.org – article from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/us-russian-generals-communicating-more-avoid-mishaps-syria/28507898.html – May 25, 2017 ) Russian and U.S. military generals are increasingly communicating about operations in Syria as both countries wage separate but at times overlapping battles in the country, the Pentagon said on May 24. Air Force Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, who is in […]

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Ukraine plans to stop rail passenger traffic with Russia on July 1 – newspaper

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. May 25 (Interfax) – Ukraine may halt rail passenger traffic to and from Russia on July 1; the decision is being lobbied by a number of officials whose opinion Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has lately deferred to increasingly more often, the newspaper Kommersant said on Thursday, referencing Kyiv sources with knowledge of the situation. “Kyiv intends to halt rail […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Rallies: 1.3% GDP Growth, $55 Oil, World Bank Says; The Russian ruble is strengthening today on solid economic growth targets from the World Bank” – Barrons/ Dimitra DeFotis

World Bank Building

“Russia’s economy can expand at a 1.3% pace in 2017 and by 1.4% in 2018 and 2019, the World Bank said …. The ruble is strengthening … up 0.7% against the U.S. dollar, and Russian equities are rallying in Moscow. The VanEck Vectors Russia exchange-traded fund (RSX) is higher by 0.5% … as are the U.S.-traded shares of Sberbank Rossia (SBRCY). Moody’s […]

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State, society and the individual in the Russian courtroom; One of Russia’s leading human rights lawyers discusses competing realities inside and outside the courtroom.

File Photo of Judge and Clerk in Russian Court, with Russian Flag Behind Bench

(opendemocracy.net – Igor Gukovsky – May 23, 2017) Igor Gukovsky is a campaigner with the Memorial Human Rights Centre, where he works on its programme supporting individuals prosecuted for political reasons and protecting civil society activists in Russia. For many, politically motivated criminal cases in Russia may seem like a foregone conclusion. The defendant is always found guilty, and the […]

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Despite His Suspicions about the Internet, Putin may Soon Begin to Tweet, Gontmakher Says

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 23, 2017) Vladimir Putin is deeply suspicious of the Internet, viewing it as a source of “disinformation and manipulation,” Ekho Moskvy editor Aleksey Venediktov says ((echo.msk.ru/blog/pressa_echo/1985746-echo/). But he is also a very clever politician who recognizes that there are some things he must adapt himself to, Yevgeny Gontmakher observes. The Internet […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-98 :: Wednesday, 24 May 2017

St. Basil's Domes

To inquire bout a subscription to the full Johnson’s Russia List e-mail newsletter, e-mail David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net [check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2017-#98 Wednesday, 24 May 2017 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School […]

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NEWSLINK: “2017 Global 2000: These Are The Largest Companies In Russia” – Forbes

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… Aside from boasting hefty ownership stakes from the Russian government, Gazprom and Sberbank are also the number-one and -two companies in country. Gazprom, which holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves ranked #40 on the overall Global 2000, up from #53 in 2016. The jump in ranking came in part because of the company’s profit, which surged from $4.9 […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why The Russia Investigation Matters And Why You Should Care” – National Public Radio/ Domenico Montanaro

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“… a question asked at Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing about the Russia investigation with former Obama CIA Director John Brennan caught our attention: ‘Please tell my constituents, my neighbors, why they should care — and not just in Washington, D.C., but in Washington state and Texas and Connecticut and points in between — and why should they care, and […]

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NEWSWATCH RAND: “Russian Views of the International Order”

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

RAND researchers analyze Russian views of the international order, identifying core Russian foreign policy interests, including defense of the regime, influence in its neighborhood, and status as a great power, tracing how those interests impact Russia’s view of the United States and the West …

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